A Salute to Jim Weiss, our FY2021 Chairman

September 29, 2021

Great leadership makes all the difference in an organization’s success or failure – especially when it’s facing the kind of deeply challenging, uncertain times we find ourselves in today. That’s why I am truly grateful to our FY2021 Chair, Jim Weiss of Fifth Third Bank. When Jim began his term last October, he was emphatic about keeping us on track with our strategic plan, getting our Placemaking initiatives up and running, and helping to launch our capital campaign for the new Tampa Bay Economic Prosperity Foundation in spite of the ongoing pandemic. Jim had a zeal for the mission that was absolutely inspiring, and fired up our whole team.


Jim presides over a board meeting at The Florida Aquarium

Fast forward to today, and I marvel at what our EDC team and Investors accomplished under Jim’s leadership. We’re on track to exceed our goals for jobs and capital investment this year. We hired our Community Development Director, Tony Brown, and immediately began collaborating with the City and the County on foundational work for transforming three Opportunity Zones. And last but not least, we launched the quiet phase of our Foundation’s capital campaign, enlisting the help of former City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to lead it. Jim’s vision was to convene all of the major banks in town and enlist their support in our Inclusive Economic Growth Initiative. Boy was that a great idea! Thanks to Jim’s leadership we are already more than half way toward our capital campaign goal and we’ve not even entered the public phase yet.


Jim Weiss at the Fast launch event

Jim managed to lead us through all of these successes despite having to conduct most of our business virtually. He never missed a beat, even as he moved to South Florida for his new role at Fifth Third midway through his term as our Chair. Even though he has a three hour drive from his new office to Tampa, he made time to drive up for our in-person Board and Executive Committee meetings the past two months. Now that is dedication!


On a personal note, I am deeply grateful to Jim for being so generous with his time and his friendship. We not only accomplished many important things together this year, and we had a lot of fun as well.


Jim, on behalf of our team and your fellow Investors, we’re going to miss you. Those South Florida business communities are lucky to have you.